The Matrix Resurrections (2021) Review!!

Synopsis – Return to a world of two realities: one, everyday life; the other, what lies behind it. To find out if his reality is a construct, to truly know himself, Mr. Anderson will have to choose to follow the white rabbit once more.

My Take – I think we all can agree that 1999’s The Matrix, written and directed by the Wachowskis, was a landmark film that revolutionized the industry with its use of special effects and philosophy preaching about free will vs destiny.

Although it told a familiar story of machines becoming sentient resulting in an all-out war between them and the humans, its further expansion into the virtual reality simulation where we saw the protagonists don cool glasses and leather, and indulge in kung fu and slow motioned action sequences, left audiences mightily impressed.

Of course, sequels in the form of The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003) followed, which were fun with their respective elements, but also doubled down on the first film’s self-indulgent, pretentious, ramblings, failing to live up to the status of the epic 1999 original.

Now 22 years later, director Lana Wachowski (minus Lilly Wachowski) is back with a fourth installment, co-writing with David Mitchell and Aleksandar Hemon, with an aim to further expand on the story of Neo and Trinity. And though the elements are still there, the lore still strong, and the set-up still ripe for revival, it unfortunately underwhelms as a whole experience especially when compared to its predecessors. While the proceedings appear very earnest, slightly nonsensical and rather romantic, it doesn’t help that at the same time the plot feels convoluted and unfocused.

Sure, the sunglasses have been updated, and the characters now have more tattoos, but those seem like the most significant advances. In comparison, the previous sequels may have been pretty impenetrable, but even they had a visionary, boundary-pushing ambition which is severely lacking here, with the first half especially appearing rather redundant, and all the speeches about remaking the Matrix feeling rather forced.

The story follows Neo (Keanu Reeves), who is no longer the super-powered messiah who freed the human race from the robot overlords, and is once again living as Thomas Anderson, a miserable software-programmer, who is world-famous for developing three influential video games titled, The Matrix, with his business partner, Smith (Jonathan Groff).

With no recollection of his past life, Thomas also keeps running into a woman named Tiffany (Carrie-Anne Moss), a married mother who reminds him of Trinity, all the while as he continues to struggle to separate his perceived reality from his dreams.

Though his therapist (Neil Patrick Harris) prescribes him blue pills to keep his sanity, his life rather explodes when he meets Bugs (Jessica Henwick) and a revamped Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), who reintroduce him to a familiar predicament and take on an upgraded Matrix.

At first glance, this is a promising premise for a new installment in the series, and the opening calls back to an iconic Matrix scene while stylishly introducing new characters and teased a compellingly plot, complete with a new palette spices up the series’ classic monochrome with patches of slick color. But the writing instantly feels disposable. Where the first film yearned to talk about big ideas like free will and the nature of reality, this one is mostly a take on obsessive fans, the media industry, and meta-textual loopiness.

It’s a gratingly uncool and reactive cut-up of an effortlessly cool and timeless work, albeit seemingly deliberately so. This one overall tends toward the philosophical, focusing on legacy and emotion where the original trilogy emphasized free will versus destiny. It seeks to dissect the adulation and mythos that have grown up around The Matrix over decades but without the masterful craft work that inspired that adulation in the first place.

The film’s new characters have virtually no motivations outside a fandom-like obsession with Neo. The heroes, who are functionally almost interchangeable, seem to have only one goal, just to get Neo’s mojo back. The villains too are obsessed with tormenting him for under-explored reasons, even when that gets in the way of their theoretical actual job.

The earlier sequels had countless flaws, but they showcased that the Wachowski had a talent for visually memorable set pieces and elaborate choreography. Here, the martial-arts melees and firefights are just alright until the big finale when director Wachowski lets loose and gets creative. But that too barely captures the magic of the original. The fight sequences become progressively more perfunctory, more pointlessly derivative, and harder to follow thanks to a penchant for crowd scenes involving the film’s equivalent of zombies.

Performances wise, Keanu Reeves is still fun to watch with Carrie-Anne Moss, who’s Trinity really sparkles here once she gets the spotlight. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II brings a different yet decisive take to Morpheus. Jessica Henwick plays around well with her new character. Jonathan Groff winningly re-imagines Hugo Weaving’s villainous Agent Smith.

Neil Patrick Harris ignites in the final act, while Priyanka Chopra Jonas is alright as the grown-up version of Sati. In other roles, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lambert Wilson, Christina Ricci, Toby Onwumere, Max Riemelt, Ellen Hallman, Purab Kohli, and Chad Stahelski are alright. On the whole, ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ is a tepid sequel that adds nothing to Wachowskis’ awe-striking cyberpunk trilogy.

Directed –

Starring – Keanu Reeves, Jessica Henwick, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Rated – R

Run Time – 148 minutes

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